On Sunday, October 13, 2019 Pope Francis will canonize 5 new Saints at the morning Mass in St. Peter's Square: Cardinal John Henry Newman, Giuseppina Vannini, Mariam Thresia Chiaramel Mankidiyan, Dulce Lopes Pontes, and Marquerite Bays.
1) Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes - her secular name was Maria Rita, and she was born in Salvador de Bahia in 1914. (pictured bottom left)
After entering the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, she became Sister Dulce, her Mother’s name, and spent her time attending to the local poor and destitute. Eventually she founded the Sao Francisco’s Workers Union and opened a clinic, a library, a school and even cinema for the poor.
Sister Dulce herself developed serious respiratory problems and had to spend 16 months in that hospital. It was there that Pope John Paul II came to visit her while he was on a trip to Brazil in 1990. The President of Brazil had already nominated her for the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of her work with the Charitable Works Foundation of Sister Dulce, which she founded in 1959.
The "Mother Teresa of Brazil", as she was known, died on 13 March 1992 at the age of 77. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed her Blessed on 22 May 2011.
2) Marguerite Bays (pictured in the middle) was a Swiss lay woman and Franciscan tertiary, Marguerite Bays, to be declared a saint during a Canonization Mass in St Peter’s Square this Sunday. Marguerite Bays was born in La Pierraz, in the Swiss canton of Fribourg, in 1815.
Marguerite used to pray the Rosary regularly and attended daily Mass, paying frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and inviting everyone she met to join her in prayer. She spent all her free time working in the parish, where she taught catechism to the children, visited the sick, took care of the poor, and all those people she thought of as "God's favorites".
This life of active apostolate led her to join the Franciscan Third Order, now the Secular Franciscan Order, in 1860.
She understood that her place was at home, and her way to holiness lay in her daily service to her family. This choice did not always make things easy for her. In 1853, when she was 35, Marguerite was operated on for intestinal cancer. The treatments were very invasive, and she prayed to Our Lady for healing and for a different understanding of suffering.
She developed the stigmata, the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, on her hands, feet and chest. At first she kept it secret, but the news soon leaked out. On Fridays and during Holy Week, she would fall ill or experience moments of ecstasy. Gradually the pain became more and more intense, and on 27 June 1879, Marguerite died. Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed her Blessed on 29 October 1995.
3) Sister Giuseppina Vannini, (pictured top left) Founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus. Her childhood name was Giuditta and she was born in Rome in 1859. Both her parents died within three years of one another, and Giuditta and her two siblings were left orphans.
It was at the orphanage run by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de' Paul that she first experienced the call to religious life. In 1891, Giuditta participated in a spiritual retreat where she met Camillian Father Luigi Tezza. A few months earlier, Fr Tezza had been tasked with restoring the Camillian Tertiaries. He asked Giuditta to assist him, and she agreed.
Giuditta took the religious name of Sister Giuseppina and soon became Superior General of the new religious Congregation known as the Daughters of Saint Camillus. The new institute needed the definitive approval of the ecclesiastical authority, but Pope Leo XIII refused it twice because he had decided not to allow the foundation of new religious communities. The Congregation did receive official approved, however, in 1909. Mother Giuseppina died in 1911 from heart disease in Rome at the age of 51. By then, the Camillians already had 156 professed religious and 16 religious houses between Europe and America. The main legacy the Foundress left her sisters was the pure and simple physical and spiritual care of the sick, exercised at home as in hospitals, leprosariums and nursing homes, both in European rehabilitation centers, and in mission countries. Pope Saint John Paul II declared her Blessed on 16 October 1994.
4) Mother Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan, (pictured bottom right) Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Thissur, in India. Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan was born in 1876 in Kerala, India, and named after Saint Teresa of Avila. She spent her entire life assisting the poor, the sick, the elderly and all those in need. When Thresia was 10 years old, she made a private vow of virginity and decided to consecrate her life to Christ. Thresia had a series of mystical experiences, including the gift of healing and prophesy. She bore the stigmata in secret and passed through her own “dark night of the soul”. At first, she joined the Franciscan Poor Clares, then the Discalced Carmelites of Ollur.
In 1913 she created her first small community with two friends. It was to become the nucleus of the Congregation of the Holy Family. During the 12 years in which Mother Mariam was at the head of the Congregation, despite the difficulties associated with the outbreak of the First World War, the Congregation flourished with new convents, schools, boarding schools and orphanages.
Mother Mariam Thresia died on 8 June 1926 and was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on 9 April 2000.
5) Cardinal John Henry Newman spent his life in search of Truth. He always said it was the only reason for living. At the age of 25, Newman said he had met God, not "as a notion, but as a person”. Two years later, he became an Anglican priest and taught at Oxford.
Back in Oxford, he found he was increasingly far from Anglicanism. He began studying the Fathers of the Church, common to all denominations, and gathered around him a group of scholars who questioned themselves on important topics such as respect for the tradition of the first centuries. In 1843 he made his decision. Two years later he asked to be admitted to the Catholic Church. After completing his theological studies in Rome, he was ordained a priest in 1847.
In 1850 Henry returned to England and threw himself into various activities: he founded the Dublin University, produced a new translation of the Bible into English, took over the direction of a magazine, and founded an Oratory in Oxford dedicated to St Philip Neri, in whose Congregation he had been ordained a priest. In 1879, Pope Leo XIII created him a Cardinal. John Henry Newman died at the Birmingham Oratory on 11 August 1890. He was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 during his visit to Britain.
Edited from Vatican News.va - Image source: CBCP